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What does the Switch Near My Furnace Do?

The switch is required by code: a service technician uses it to turn off power when working on the furnace. Since it resembles a light switch, it’s possible someone could turn it off by accident.

Disconnect Switch

Your furnace’s disconnect switch is normally installed on the side of your furnace or on a wall nearby. It’s an electrical code requirement and this placement is intended to make your life easier — it saves you a trip to your main service panel when you need to turn off your unit for some reason, like replacing the air filter.

The disconnect switch is supplied by its own circuit, which is located in your main service panel. The switch ensures the power to your furnace stops when you’re working on it, even if someone turns on the circuit breaker.

Types of Disconnect Switches

Depending on the age of your furnace, you may have one of two disconnect switches: a single-pole switch or a fused disconnect switch.

A single-pole switch resembles a light switch and needs to be compatible with the amperage and voltage of the furnace circuit. If you have an older furnace or oil-burner unit, you may have a fused disconnect switch.

This type of switch has both a fuse and toggle switch, or a metal box enclosure with the on / off handle on the side. So you can either unscrew the fuse, shut off the switch, or move the handle to off to disconnect the power to your furnace.

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